Skip to content

Large Portions Encourage the Selection of Palatable Rather Than Filling Foods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2117-2123
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number10
Early online date24 Aug 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Aug 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Aug 2016
DatePublished (current) - 1 Oct 2016


BACKGROUND: Portion size is an important driver of larger meals. However, effects on food choice remain unclear.

OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to identify how portion size influences the effect of palatability and expected satiety on choice.

METHODS: In Study 1, adult participants (n = 24, 87.5% women) evaluated the palatability and expected satiety of 5 lunchtime meals and ranked them in order of preference. Separate ranks were elicited for equicaloric portions from 100 to 800 kcal (100-kcal steps). In Study 2, adult participants (n = 24, 75% women) evaluated 9 meals and ranked 100-600 kcal portions in 3 contexts (scenarios), believing that 1) the next meal would be at 1900, 2) they would receive only a bite of one food, and 3) a favorite dish would be offered immediately afterwards. Regression analysis was used to quantify predictors of choice.

RESULTS: In Study 1, the extent to which expected satiety and palatability predicted choice was highly dependent on portion size (P < 0.001). With smaller portions, expected satiety was a positive predictor, playing a role equal to palatability (100-kcal portions: expected satiety, β: 0.42; palatability, β: 0.46). With larger portions, palatability was a strong predictor (600-kcal portions: β: 0.53), and expected satiety was a poor or negative predictor (600-kcal portions: β: -0.42). In Study 2, this pattern was moderated by context (P = 0.024). Results from scenario 1 replicated Study 1. However, expected satiety was a poor predictor in both scenario 2 (expected satiety was irrelevant) and scenario 3 (satiety was guaranteed), and palatability was the primary driver of choice across all portions.

CONCLUSIONS: In adults, expected satiety influences food choice, but only when small equicaloric portions are compared. Larger portions not only promote the consumption of larger meals, but they encourage the adoption of food choice strategies motivated solely by palatability.

    Research areas

  • portion size, expected satiety, food choice, dietary decisions, palatability, unhealthy, obesogenic

    Structured keywords

  • CRICBristol
  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Nutrition and Behaviour

Download statistics

No data available



  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Americal Society for Nutrition at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 753 KB, PDF document


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups